1 800 I AM VEXD

I guess they were a Good Idea At The Time – but last week I ran afoul of a phone number expressed as a word. It must have been the heat.

It strikes me that smart phones and speed dial have made these mnemonics into communication tools well past their prime.

There I was in downtown Vancouver, late and hoping to pay for parking with my cell phone. The number to dial: 604 662-PARK. As with most smart phones the number pad on my Blackberry Curve does not include corresponding letters.

Again with the heat, I emailed Verrus, the service-provider, to inform them they’d just missed out on my 30 cent user fee and to rant a bit. Their customer care man was right on it. He called my concern “valid” and said he would be informing their parking vendors and sign-makers. A small victory.

On the other hand, if you take the can’t-beat-’em-join-’em approach go to http://www.phonepeople.com/spell and turn your existing phone number into a word. Call me at PEAR 035 if you get a good one!


3 responses to “1 800 I AM VEXD

  1. Hi Anita,

    I handle the signage and communications here at Verrus. We’ve been asking our partner to update their signs for some time now as they were one of the first to offer the pay by phone service back in 2001. They have put PARK (7275) at most of their other lots around the city as do all of our partners around North America. I agree with you, going forward more and more people will be using smart phones and the appeal of having your phone number spell out a word will be lost.

    I’m glad you have an account with us and I hope you find our service useful in the future.


  2. The iphone is ‘smart enough’ to have numbers still printed on the keypad, but good that the company is changing to accomodate all phones.

  3. Verrus definitely doesn’t make it easy when calling in using your smartphone. Try extending your parking at BC Ferries Horseshoe Bay terminal (if you can find the number). After entering your credit card number and lot number (don’t forget to record that info before you leave) you have to enter your licence plate digits using the key pad. If you hit the wrong key there’s no option to back-track. I had to figure out the regular key pad before calling a 5th time. Their system is painful — once you figure out the correct key, then you have to go through the steps “for A press 1, for B press 2, for C press 3, for 2 press 4”. Try this for all six digits of your licence plate! The only thing making it worthwhile was not getting a ticket when I missed the last ferry…but surely there’s an easier method and one that doesn’t require you to have a landline keypad handy.

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